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04 Mar

As the world's largest donor of development finance, the EU is uniquely placed for cooperation with developing countries.

The sheer demographic and economic weight of the 28-nation bloc makes it a major power.

Designed to strengthen the EU’s relations with its neighbours, the policy offers: As the EU has grown, the countries of eastern Europe and the southern Caucasus have become our closer neighbours.

Increasingly, their security, stability and prosperity affect ours.

Deployment decisions are taken by national ministers from EU countries meeting in the Council of the EU.

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) governs the EU's relations with 16 of its southern and eastern neighbours.

It seeks to ensure that these relationships are based on mutual interests and benefits.

EU foreign and security policy, which has developed gradually over many years, enables the EU to speak and act as one in world affairs.

Acting together gives the EU's 28 members far greater clout than they would have if each pursued its own policies.

The 2009 Lisbon Treaty strengthened this policy area by creating The EU is a key player on issues ranging from Iran's nuclear programme and stabilising Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa to fighting global warming.

Its joint foreign and security policy, designed to resolve conflicts and foster international understanding, is based on diplomacy; trade, humanitarian aid, security and defence often play a complementary role.